Real Estate & Construction  June 9, 2023

IQ: Naranjo harnesses drones to improve engineering

2023 IQ Award Winner - Construction

GARDEN CITY — Photogrammetry. Orthomosaic maps. 3D interaction.

It all starts with drones at Naranjo Civil Constructors Inc., a Garden City contractor.

Naranjo is a BizWest IQ innovation winner in the construction category for its use of new technology to cut cost and increase customer service.

“A key component of our 2022 innovations includes utilizing drone surveying technology to better serve our operations,” Cameron Stevens wrote in the nomination of the company for an IQ award. “Long story short, we harness GPS drones to create 3D interactive and measurable maps using a process called photogrammetry. Photogrammetry works by capturing hundreds of overlapping photos and stitching them together to produce life-like orthomosaic maps, digital elevation models, digital surface models, 3D models and more. Once the data is processed, our team members and clients can measure stockpiles, calculate slopes, compare design files to real-site conditions, and prepare for storm events from a birds eye vantage point. 

“Traditional survey methods can negatively affect the project’s budget; we have found a way to lessen these costs by performing our own surveys,” he said.

Naranjo has two licensed drone pilots who capture the images needed to value-engineer projects. “In an industry that is largely driven by earthwork, river restoration and precise measurements, this technology has helped us move into the future more adeptly and accurately.”

The company flies each active construction site every week and makes the images available to staff and customers. Remote workers have easy access to construction sites through the images, which are placed on job-specific web pages. 

“These web pages contain the general project description, construction schedules, engineered CAD file overlays, before/after sliders to compare jobsite changes using overhead drone imagery, an edited update video, and a collection of photographs to represent the work finished within the prior week. Our audiences’ response has been overwhelmingly positive, and an absolute game changer.”

Naranjo Civil has been able to escalate quality of work within the past year, largely thanks to these innovations. 

Jerry Naranjo first adopted drone technology in 2013, 10 years ago. Additional technologies were brought on line more recently. In 2016, the company partnered with Propeller Aero, an Australian photogrammetry software company with U.S. headquarters in Denver.

The company also uses Hubble Creative, trade name for Eagle Aerial Media LLC of Greeley, to capture images. Eagle is a spinoff company formed by Jerry Naranjo.

Examples of the work include the Godfrey Ditch project, in which the Godfrey Ditch diversion structure located on the South Platte River in Weld County was reconstructed to improve maintenance access, mitigate future floods, enhance riparian corridors and fish passage, along with other hydrological benefits. The photogrammetry drone mapping was key to the project because operators were working mid river in substantial flows.

Jerry Naranjo is president and CEO of Naranjo Civil Constructors.

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